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i88             A SEARCH  IN SECRET EGYPT
human race, through the processes of evolution—the sole difference being that, as the former was a forced hurried growth, an artificial process like enhancement was employed, whereas with the latter both psychic and spiritual development would proceed naturally.
Thus the experience repictured within the soul the entire drama of human evolution, the ineluctable fate of human beings.
The principle which lay at the back of it was that a man's normal worldly nature could be temporarily paralysed by a profound lethargic sleep, and his usually unnoticed psychic or spiritual nature awakened by processes known only to the hierophant. A man who was artificially plunged into such a coma would seem to an observer as one really physically dead; in fact, in the symbolical language of the Mysteries, he would be said to have "descended into the tomb" or to be "buried in the tomb." Thus deprived of his bodily vitality, and with the force of his personal passions and desires temporarily lulled, the candidate would truly be dead to all earthly things, while his consciousness, his soul-being, would temporarily separate itself from the flesh. Only in such a state was it possible for a man to perceive the spirit-world as it was perceived by the spirits themselves, to see visions of the gods and angels, to be taken through infinite space, to know his innermost self and, ultimately, to know the true God.
Such a man could justly say that he had been dead and resurrected, that he had both symbolically and literally slept in the tomb and passed through the miracle of resuscitation, awakening to discover a new understanding of the significance of death and to bear a diviner life within his breast. The imprint of his hierophant, who had brought all this about, was upon him and, ever after, the two would be invisibly connected by the closest, deepest tie. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was more than a mere doctrine now; it was a proved fact, which had been completely demonstrated to him. When he awakened to the light of day, the initiate could truly say of himself that he had returned to the world completely transformed and spiritually reborn. He had passed through hell and heaven, and knew some of the secrets of both. If he was pledged to maintain those secrets inviolate, he was also pledged to live henceforth and to conduct himself on a basis of the real existence of those worlds. He moved among men